Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chasing the Maharajas'- A Trip Report

Chasing the Maharajas'- Well….yeah! That’s exactly what we (Arzan Kotval and I) did today i.e on 01/22/2011. Sounds kind of eldritch but…hold on a second…….our Maharaja for the day was….any guess????…..well…. It’s the Maharajas’ express which runs every of the expensive trains and the ticket costs up to US$ 20,000 for a single trip, besides,  it is hauled by all sorts of weird links,…links as remote as Shakurbasti………but..hold one a sec again… where on earth is this place?, I guess half of the people in Mumbai (Bombay) would start scratching their heads and for me, I’ve already started to scratch my head and while I’m typing this, I still didn’t Google it.  Anyway, coming to the point……first, I’d personally like to thank the individual(s) who invented the cell phones…and why???…… Because, had it not been for the call from Arzan, I’d have missed our Maharajas’ and also thanks to Arzan for coming to my place a little too soon.
I was in the middle of my lunch when I got a call from Arzan asking me to rush to Vidyavihar as the Maharajas’ is on it’s way..worming out of LTT (Mumbai)…well…..I didn’t blow out of the water when I saw my poor results in exams while in school as much as I got blown out of water when I heard this piece of news and I told to myself….rushhhhhhh!…I guess my mom must have gotten a shock of her life to see me missing so abruptly and without informing her. …but I’m happy she didn’t file missing report at the police station.
I left my lunch incomplete…and in the excitement forgot to wash my hands and, of course, forgot to flush my mouth with delicious mint flavor mouthwash and…… countenanced the bacteria to relish the banquet of scrumptious food prepared by my mom and, my mom probably received a lot of benedictions from those bacteria and….well… just in case if you’re wondering, …..they’re dead now…RIP!!!!!!

 I sprinted to Vidyavihar train station with my camera and other contraptions,……it usually takes 5 minutes to walk from my house to the Vidyavihar station but this time I guess I kinda fractured all records and reached Vidyavihar in about 1 minute and 50! Where’s my prize???? (kidding). J  

I was all set up with my camera and on the foot-over-bridge I took this picture….(below)
WDS-6 class loco
The WDS-6 class locomotive of Kurla shed got the opportunity to convey the Maharajas’ express to Victoria Terminus, Mumbai.
And then came a series of clicks and not really disquieted about the police and security presence at the station…
Here’s another shot after I descended from the foot-over-bridge….
WCAM3 and WDS-6 seems to greet each other

Our Maharajas’ started to kick the dust while a WCAM-3 at the helm of Pune bound Singhad express waits patiently for the Maharajas’ to clear.
And this shot (below)..I guess I was not really happy for an EMU bound to Victoria Terminus arrived at wrong time and kinda obdurately obturated the view of the Maharajas’ when I didn’t want.   I always get things when I don’t really need it but have to wait really long when I really need it..Wonder why this happens with me almost always.

The smiling face of the lady on the EMU car (beside the number 76277) seems 

to be telling me that…..”there you go! Missed your chance to see and click 

Ratlam WDM-3A”.

We boarded the same EMU to feel the joy of parallel run with Arzan’s handycam and my camera gaining other passengers attention…. The WDS-6 didn’t seem to floor well..or so it seemed….An idea stuck in Arzan’s mind (An idea! Wow! How remote is that in my mindJ)………not that it does not stuck in mind but it is a rare event J…….Arzan asked me to disembark at Sion and click smoking pictures…..smoking who???? Well..of course the locomotives… and I couldn’t disagree with him.
Here is a picture taken at Sion station….The WDS-6 going strong and, of course, flooring well !!!!!
WDS-6 flooring well and seems to be in hurry to reach Victoria Terminus
 And another picture, this time, however, I managed to click the Ratlam WDM-3A (below) with no smiling lady around this time, however there were a few bunch of lads requesting to take their pictures…
Finall I got you pal!!! Ratlam WDM3A trailing the Maharajas' express.
Wow!!!! What a clean looking loco! Guys at GZB, are you listening????????
Arzan’s another idea (wow!! Another idea!!! ) was to board an MRVC (Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation) EMU…those white and swanky looking trains with the maximum speed of 100kmph but to our complete disappointment, the next train turned out to be a Dadar bound DC EMU…well…well..well….we still boarded it, in a hope to find an MRVC EMU at Matunga (next station)..and sure we did this time, but not too soon as our Maharajas’ rushed to its destination quite fast… I guess I underestimated the WDS-6 loco. We, too, arrived at Victoria station in about 20 minutes and found that our Maharajas’ taking rest at platform number 19 of Victoria station before a really long trip…Meanwhile we met Abhishek Bajpai and his group, they were on their way to Braganza valley for a 3-day rail fanning trip….wow!!! You guys get time to go on a 3-day rail fanning trip???..How I wish that the rail fanning was a paid job!!! J
.Later they boarded the Deccan Queen express to Pune and from Pune they booked Ernakulam (Cochin) bound Purna express to Magdoan (Goa)..One of the trains I traveled frequently while I was studying in Kerala…In a meantime, I took the opportunity to click our Maharajas’ resting at platform 19 of Victoria station (below)
WDS-6 resting at Victoria Station with the Maharajas'

 All these while I was aware of the heavy security presence at this station and Jan 26th round the corner but as my ‘luck’ would have it (I guess the ‘luck’ seems to have an animus relation with me) one of the security guards wanted to run a ‘check’ me but….. later let me go without any checking…wow!! I wonder what made his mind change!!!!
We bid goodbye to Abhishek et al’ and proceeded to catch an EMU to experience another parallel run. Again….. an idea stuck in Arzan’s mind (hey Arzan! Quite a lot of ideas stuck in your mindJ) and we decided to board Kurla bound DC EMU. We expected to see, first, Nagpur bound Nandigram express and later our Maharajas’. We were at the door, keeping a close eye on down fast line and at Sion we encountered a parallel run with Nandigram express and I was impressed with WDM-3A acceleration. As we entered Kurla (the last stop) we were hoping to see our Maharajas’ blast past at high speed but just when we had a coup d’oeil at track number 5… and repugnance!!!!!!! Again as our ‘luck’ would have it…another Victoria Terminus bound EMU, with a face of smiling lady, stymied our last hope of seeing our beloved Maharajas. Ohhh!!! geeez!!!!!!  I was absolutely disappointed and tempestuous and even more was Arzan…The look on the Arzan’s face told the complete chronicle and if a mere look could obliterate …I guess the driver of that EMU would have had popped his clogs hundreds of time…… As we bid goodbye to our Maharajas’ express and in rather sad way….I rushed home…and those bacteria still procreating but were minutes away from their death…and Arzan with his deplorable face went to capture the Deccan Queen.

I guess my mom was brimming with anger…no, not for leaving abruptly but for leaving lunch incomplete….I was exhausted and in critically need of water after a stint with the Maharajas’ but I was ready for another stint and this is all for the love of the Indian Railways!!!!!!!!  
And yes!! Before I may conclude this report…I guess I can stop scratching my head now because I found that Shakurbasti is in New Delhi.           Thank you!     Google baba!!!!!

                       I dedicate this trip report to Jack McKinnon
                            And, of course, to all the hoi polloi who loves trains
                           And yes!!!!!! Thank you for reading all the way down!!!!

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